X-cellent at Home
One last standing ovation.
Kingfisher’s core group of seniors have earned their fair share of them over the last few seasons, but on Thursday night they got one more on their home court.
Their final one. The seniors made their way to the bench after doing their part to secure a 60-44 victory against John Marshall in a Class 4A regional semifinal at the APB.
The remainder of the regional moves to Cleveland as KHS takes on Inola at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the regional title game.
Those seniors exited the court with a 43-1 career mark at home.
“It’s really unbelievable when you think about it,” coach Jared Reese said. “What they’ve been able to do, especially these last two years really speaks to them and how they’ve bought into what we’re doing.”
The Jackets fell behind 11-6 after John Marshall’s Daniel Ramahn and Derrick Lawrence combined to hit three early 3-pointers.
But KHS closed on a 15-2 run to end the quarter, capped by Drake Friesen’s corner trey that left his fingertips moments before the buzzer sounded.
It was Friesen’s second trey of the quarter and the team’s fourth.
The momentum carried over into the second quarter as KHS used a 14-3 run for a 35-16 halftime lead.
Xavier Ridenour and Caden Kitchens each had 11 points at the half.
John Marshall started the second half with an 8-0 run to pull within 11.
Friesen stepped up with another big play, this one of the four-point variety.
He was fouled while knocking down a trey in front of his own bench. The free throw put KHS up 39-24 with 5:23 left.
The Jackets (21-3) began to take advantage of the Bears’ aggressive defense and continually scored on backdoor cuts.
Ridenour was the main beneficiary as he had four field goals in the third quarter.
Jax Sternberger was the main deliverer as he led the team with seven assists. The Jackets had 17 as a team as Cash Slezickey and Kitchens added four each.
With John Marshall still lurking and a chance to cut Kingfisher’s lead to a dozen points in the fourth quarter, Slezickey stripped the Bears’ Pecola McCloud.
On the other end, Ridenour drained a 3-pointer to essentially put the Bears away.
Ridenour led all scorers with 22 points. He was 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and 8 of 12 overall.
Kitchens scored 13 and Freisen 12.
Jud Birdwell added six points, Slezickey five and Sternberger two.
All of Kingfisher’s scoring came from seniors.
Ramahn led the Bears with 15 points while Lawrence scored 13.